Well, we sure had an interesting incident this afternoon.
About 4:30 this afternoon I came in the house just as the male loon was leaving the nest.
On the audio, I could hear voices so I went down to the lake to see if the loon had left the nest because of some disturbance.
There was no boat and no people anywhere in sight. The sound of voices was apparently coming from somewhere way across the lake and the microphone was picking it up.
But I did see "our" loons swimming out beyond the buoys.
Or at least I thought it was "our" loons.
But they were excitedly circling each other and doing what I call "splash diving", which is an excited dive that actually splashes water.
It concerned me if our loons were having a spat.
When one loon would dive, the other loon would also either dive immediately or put his head under the water (peering) to keep track of where the other loon was.
As one of the loons was underwater and the other loon was peering, all of a sudden the loon on top of the water jumped and immediately went into a penguin dance mode!
He obviously had gotten stabbed from underwater by the other loon!
Now I was really concerned it if was "our" couple!
The other loon immediately surfaced right next to the first one and he too immediately went into penguin dance.
Then started the wails and tremolos as they face each other, still in penguin dance.
It was one of the longest penguin dance confrontations that I have ever seen.
Finally the loon that had gotten stabbed (?), rapidly retreated across the surface of the water, rowing with his wings and calling the whole way. When he finally stopped, the other loon dove which sent the first loon racing across the water again because he knew that the loon was coming after him underwater.
And sure enough the loon surfaced right where the first loon had just been.
So the first loon kept going farther and farther away.
Just then, another loon came flying in low over the other two loons on the water.
Now there was a third loon in the mix!
The flying loon circled over them.
And then circled again. And again. Just a few feet off the water.
This loon had obviously heard the alarm calls and came flying in.
And finally it came to a skidding landing near the loon that had done the stabbing.
They swam together, both of them with heads held high and on high alert, looking around.
They were still very agitated. They kept looking around and swimming in circles. I was not beginning to believe that these two loons were the male and female pair of "our" loons. And it was our male that had confronted and stabbed an intruder loon.
I could not see where the intruder loon had gone. But more and more the pair started looking in the opposite direction of where he had gone.
Sure enough, a loon started his long splashing takeoff and he flew a few feet right over the top of our loons!
They stayed out away from the nest still looking around for any other threats.
Finally one of them started swimming in toward the nest as I sat in the lawn chair watching with the binoculars. The loon near the nest was very cautious so I thought it was the female as she halfway submarined near the nest.
And I thought I saw bands on the loon preening further out in the lake so I figured that must be the male. But I couldn't get a real good look at his legs so I wasn't 100% sure.
The loon finally got up on the nest.
I stood up out of the chair to go back up to the house and the loon stayed upright. This HAD to be the male. I must have been wrong about the loon further out preening that I thought had bands on its legs.
If it had been the female, I was sure she would have gone into deep hangover as soon as I moved.
But I knew when I got up to the house and checked the chat room, all of you would have posted which loon had gotten back up on the nest - the male or female.
But to my surprise when I came in the house to check, I found out that UStream had gone down just a few minutes before and nobody had seen the loon get on the nest!
So I rebooted UStream and the cam came back live.
I told the chatroom that I felt it must be the male that had gotten back on the nest.
But when the loon on the nest got up to roll the eggs, I could not see any bands.
Now I was really confused!
Which loon was which? Was it really the female on the nest?
If so, why didn't she react to seeing me and gone in to deep hangover.
Others in the chatroom confirmed that they had not seen bands either, although we did not get a real good look.
I went back outside.
Normally as soon as I come out of the house, the female loon goes into hangover.
But this loon did not. It MUST be the male!
Or was it?
I walked all the way down to the lake and until I got almost to the shore, the loon kept its head up. Only when I reached the shore, did the loon go into a slight hangover.
Normally, if I or anyone would come to the shore when the female was on the nest, she would go into DEEP hangover or even leave the nest.
But we were able to confirm that indeed it was the female on the nest.
Out of nowhere, she had seemed to become very brave. Or she had finally gotten to know me!
Things have been very calm on the nest since then.
But you never know what to expect from the LoonCam or when you are going to see or learn something new.
So now enjoy the loons on a beautiful calm summer evening.